3 Are you listening or waiting to speak?
Listening is a key part of the communication process and to do it well you need to use your sense of sight as well as hearing. Remember we talked about visual communication in the first section?
We can generally process information quicker than we can convert it into a spoken response, so there is a risk that our mind tends to wander. Active listening is about consciously focusing for a specific purpose and is an essential part of activities like counselling or attending meetings and reviews about the people you are supporting. To be an active listener you need to clarify and confirm the other person’s spoken thoughts, as well as taking in their non-verbal messages.
- How long do you actually listen to another person before interrupting?
- How quickly do your own thoughts take over and you start thinking about what question to ask or how to reply even before the other person has finished speaking?
- Do you find yourself interrupting the person to give your own opinion or to finish their sentences before they are finished?